In the community, Local government

Burgess named county planning director while fair may get new exec soon

VALE – The Malheur County Court has selected Tatiana Burgess to be the new county planning director.

Burgess replaces Eric Evans, who resigned in December.

Burgess served as the interim director of the department since Evans departed. She began work in the planning department in 2019.

Burgess will be paid $66,432 a year.

A native of the country of Moldova, Burgess, 37, went to work in the county’s environmental health department in 2016 before moving to the planning department.

She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in economics from the Academy of Economic Studies in Moldova and earned a master’s in business administration from Eastern Oregon University.

Burgess said she initially wasn’t sure she would apply to be the planning director. Working as the interim director helped with her decision, she said.

“I wanted to get a feel for the job and once I was in the interim position, I realized I am capable and wanted to give it a try,” said Burgess.

Married and the mother of two children, Burgess said the best part of her job is helping people.

Meantime, progress on hiring a new county environmental health director is stalled.

“We didn’t get any qualified applications initially,” said Ron Jacobs, Malheur County commissioner.

No interviews for the position have been held, according to Malheur County chief administrator Lorinda DuBois.

An effort to fill the position is “kind of on hold right now,” said Ron Jacobs, Malheur County commissioner.

“I suppose we may go back out for a candidate in the future but I think it’s is kind of in a holding pattern right now” said Jacobs.

DuBois said the county received nine applications since the job was posted in June 2022.

That’s when the last director, Craig Geddes, resigned.

Now the work in the department is managed by environmental health specialist Evan Magner. The county also contracts for some of the environmental health work.

Meanwhile, the Malheur County Fair Board may hire a new manager for the fairgrounds soon, according to Chair Dave Tschida. Tschida declined to disclose the name of the individual pending the acceptance of the fair board’s offer.

The job has been vacant since May, when former manager Dawnita Haueter was fired.

The fair board interviewed three applicants last fall “but none of those worked out,” said Tschida.

“We thought we had one and made an offer to a woman out of Baker County but it wasn’t enough money for her,” said Tschida.

Haueter’s salary was $45,000 a year. Tschida said the salary for a new fair manager would fall between $40,000 and $45,000.

News tip? Contact reporter Pat Caldwell at [email protected]